Rachel Saunders: Second lacking botanist’s physique recognized (News)


Rodney Saunders and his wife RachelPicture copyright
Nick Bailey

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Rodney Saunders’s physique was discovered by fishermen in February

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South African police have recognized the physique of a British botanist kidnapped together with her husband in a case with suspected hyperlinks to the Islamic State group (IS).

Rachel Saunders, 63, and her husband Rodney Saunders, 74, have been final seen alive on 10 February.

Police discovered Rodney’s physique on 17 February in a river.

Authorities recognized Rachel’s physique on Wednesday however they didn’t say the place that they had discovered her stays.

Capt Lloyd Ramovha, of the elite Hawks investigative unit, stated in a press release: “A multi-pronged investigation by the Directorate for Precedence Crime Investigation and the South African Police Service’s Forensic Science Laboratory… led to the optimistic identification of the mortal stays of Rachel Saunders.”

What do we all know occurred?

The pair, who owned a seed enterprise in Cape City, have been on a visit on the lookout for uncommon seeds in KwaZulu-Natal province once they have been taken.

After the couple’s disappearance, their automotive was discovered with blood marks and 734,000 rand (£42,000) was reportedly drained from their financial institution accounts.

The BBC has declined to touch upon stories that, shortly earlier than they have been kidnapped, the couple had been working with a movie crew from the tv programme Gardeners’ World.

The physique of Mr Saunders was discovered by fishermen within the Tugela river and recognized a number of weeks later.

Their disappearance led the British International Workplace to replace its warning about the specter of a terrorist assault within the nation, which upset many South Africans.

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How did the investigation unfold?

Suspects Fatima Patel, 27, and Saffydeen Aslam del Vecchio, 38, have been arrested on 16 February, someday earlier than Rodney’s physique was discovered. Earlier than the arrests, they have been each beneath police surveillance and are alleged to have hoisted an IS flag within the reserve the place the couple disappeared.

Ms Patel had beforehand been arrested, together with her brother, in 2016 throughout a separate anti-terrorism raid nearer to Johannesburg. Neither of them have been charged.

Themba Xulu, 19, was later arrested after the {couples}’ cell phones have been present in his possession, with a fourth suspect named as Ahmad Mussa, 36, from Malawi.

Xulu obtained a suspended three-year sentence after putting a plea discount with prosecutors, with the remainder nonetheless in custody and due in courtroom on 24 August on homicide, kidnapping and theft prices.

Does IS have a presence in South Africa?

There have been no recognized assaults by IS, or another jihadist group, in South Africa.

Essentially the most distinguished case ever linked to IS within the nation concerned the Thulsie twins – Brandon-Lee and Tony-Lee.

They have been arrested throughout raids in 2016 that additionally noticed Fatima Patel detained – although she was not charged on the time.

The twins are anticipated to face trial on terrorism prices associated to alleged plans to assault the US embassy in South Africa and Jewish targets.


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